วันพุธที่ 30 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2554
Medicine in Buddhism
Medical Theories in Buddhism
Nowaday, people suffer from diseases throughout the world. They have to heal through medicines given by various doctors in the hospitals. This is very dangerous for life in which we don't know how to handle and cure. All Diseases are natural, just knowing subducing and handling them in proper way, they automatically go at the right time, sometime doing nothing, just sitting quietly only.
According to Chinese medicine, diseases are caused by seven internal and six external elements. The internal elements are extreme levels of happiness, anger, anxiety, a ruminating mind, sadness, fear, and shock. The external elements are coldness, summer-heat, dryness, heat, dampness, and wind. The seven internal elements, also referred to as emotions, are believed to cause illness because they directly impair the healthy functioning of the five main organs of human beings. Extreme levels of either happiness or fear damage the heart, anger harms the liver, anxiety harms the lungs, a ruminating mind affects the spleen, and shock hurts the kidneys. According to Chinese medicine, a healthy and balanced emotional life is essential in maintaining one’s physical health.
Various Buddhist sutras describe the causes of disease in a similar manner. For example, The Sutra of Buddha’s Diagnosis mentions that there are ten causes and conditions of sickness. These reasons are: 1) sitting for too long a period without moving, 2) eating too much, 3) sadness, 4) fatigue, 5) excessive sexual desire, 6) anger, 7) postponing excrement, 8) postponing urination, 9) holding the breath, and 10) suppressing gas. Approaching the causes of disease from a slightly different angle, The Discourse of Great Equanimity and Insightful Meditation points out six origins for disease. They are described as: 1) an imbalance of the four elements (earth, water, fire, and wind), 2) irregular dietary habits, 3) incorrect meditation methods, 4) disturbances by spirits, 5) demon possession, and 6) the force of bad karma.
Illness that originates from most of these origins can be cured if people improve their diet, become more aware of their bodies’ natural processes, and get plenty of rest. However, the last three causes 4) – 6) are related to karma, and one must work on improving his/her character and purifying his/her mind in order to be cured. A person afflicted for the last three reasons needs to spend time in spiritual practice, repentance, and doing good deeds. Only then will his/her illness begin to go away. The Mahaprajnaparamita Sastra states that illness is caused either by internal or external causes and conditions. Still, Visuddhimagga mentions additional causes of disease, but they are too numerous to list here. All of the theories on the various causes of illness can be grouped into two main categories: A) the imbalance of the four elements and B) the presence of three poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance.
The Buddha truly deserved to be regarded as the grand patriarch of Buddhist medicine. He was capable of curing diseases not only of the body but also of the mind, which were his specialty. Today, when a patient seeks a physician’s care for a physical ailment, the physician typically only pays attention to the painful symptoms in the body, ignoring both the causes and the suffering in the mind. By not investigating and discovering the true roots of the disease, they only accomplish a fraction of real healing. They do very little to heal the patients’ unhappiness, for they do not recognize and understand the true cause of the human life cycle of birth, aging, illness, and death. They do not take into account that karma and mental constructs have something to do with the origins of illness.
The Buddha’s realization of what induces the perpetual cycle of rebirth and the stages of aging, illness, and death, enabled him to guide others to live with ultimate physical and mental health. The Buddha eliminated disease by going to the heart of the cause and drawing upon his knowledge of the proper remedy. In Anguttara-nikaya, the Buddha explained that an imbalance of chi3, an overabundance of phlegm, and an increase or decrease in the body’s temperature could be treated with clarified butter, honey, and oil-based food respectively.
Regarding mental health, greed, anger, and ignorance are understood as the three gravest psychological diseases. The Buddha taught that greed could be cured by the contemplation of impurity, anger by the contemplation and practice of kindness, and ignorance by the contemplation of the true nature of all things and the cultivation of wisdom. These are the medications that the Buddha encouraged everyone to use in order to heal the diseases of both body and mind.